Property Q&A in Dallas>Question Details

Sophie, Renter in Dallas, TX

Duplex or Fourplex?

Asked by Sophie, Dallas, TX Wed Dec 12, 2012

I requested some info about a fourplex on trulia yesterday, and mentioned I will need a mortgage to purchase a property. Instead of giving me the info i requested, the realtor told me it's a huge headache to buy a fourplex and wanted me to go for a duplex instead. (She was yelling at me on the phone the whole time) She said that I will need to get multiple insurance, ie. an insurance that covers my tenant's injury in case he trip over and fall from the balcony. Can anyone tell me what insurance it is? She also said there would be no profit left after using the rent to pay for the maintenance and management fee for a fourplex. I am confused about what's going on?????

Help the community by answering this question:


A Realtor that yells at you is not going to be much help. A good Realtor will act as a teacher and help to guide you and be able to address concerns about all aspects of the transaction, or find answers if they don't know.

I suggest you call your current insurer and ask if they handle investment property insurance, or if you're using leverage, consult with your mortgage provider. I can refer you to an insurerer or mortgage company if needed.

The benefit I see of a duplex over a fourplex is that you have 2 less tenants to deal with. And if the rent of half a duplex is about the same as 2 units of a fourplex, it would be be preferable.

Good luck! Let me know if I can help.

1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 12, 2012
Hi Sophie,

I think the extra insurance that she was refering to is an liability insurance which is an optional package for you and its not required.

IN my opinion multi residence is always more profitable. Duplex is usually just barely covering expenses!

Please let me know if you need futher information on any duplex or fourplexes in the area.

JP and Associate
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 14, 2012
I think that it probably just depends on the size of home you are looking for. I would see if first off, you can find a new realtor that will be more helpful. Then I would try to see what you can do to look at different designs of each. You should probably get the best option for you, but there are many different designs for each. You could probably find a good duplex design if that is what you end up choosing!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 10, 2014
Sophie, the answer to your question is "It depends". Duplexes and four-plexes and have similar characteristics from an investment standpoint. The answer really is based on what you can afford and how much you want to bite off. If this is your first time to purchase an investment property just be sure to perform all of your due diligence. You may find a four-plex that can be purchased for less than 2 duplexes. It may also cost less to operate/manage/make ready. (This is why large investors decide to own complex with many units......there are economies of scale that will enhance your profitability.)

Be sure to find a broker/agent that really knows what they are doing/talking about. This is part of your due diligence. It is better to have someone on your side quickly that can help you shorten the time required to learn about the process and avoid common mistakes.

The last thing you want to do is make a purchase that loses money. No investment is guaranteed to make a profit, but you can do a good job of minimizing that risk with the help of an expert.

Brent Rice, Top Recommended Broker
The Rice Group, Inc.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Dec 17, 2012
Wrong realtor for you..... none should ever yell at you. So time to change if you're not getting along. You want a trusted advisor in this HUGE financial decision. I personally would not any of my personal trusted financial advisors yelling at me, unless they were so so passionate that they though I was going down the wrong path.

You will want a couple of different for the building and likely a personal umbrella policy. Better than asking a realtor though is to ask your insurance agent. They're the experts on insurance and know more about your personal situation.

Although cap rates dont tell you everything, they can help you compare properties of different rents, values, and sizes. Management fees for a duplex should be no different than a 4plex. If you want to hire a property manager, typically is about 10% a month of the rents. It can be negotiable.

I'd probably want to sit and discuss with you the two options and your experience, your goals, your resources etc, before we discuss online which is the better option for you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Dec 14, 2012
Bruce Lynn, Real Estate Pro in Coppell, TX
I don't think anyone would sign an agreement with an agent who yells at him, let aside not being helpful.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 12, 2012
If your under a buyers rep agreement with her, tell her you need her to work and do as you say. If your not under a written agreement with her, here I am. :-)

Turtle Creek Realty
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 12, 2012
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